Online Program

Voices of breast cancer survivors on the US-Mexico border: A grounded theory approach

Monday, November 4, 2013

Norah Schwartz, PhD, MPA, Departamento de Estudios de PoblaciĆ³n, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Tijuana, Mexico
Jong-Deuk Baek, PH D, Health Management & Policy, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Diana Peacher, BA, Cancer Resource Center of the Desert, El Centro, CA
Helen Palomino, MSW, Cancer Resource Center of the Desert, El Centro, CA
Diana Pelaez, MA, Departamento de Estudios Poblacion, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Tijuana, Mexico
Geovanni Zamudio, MA, Departamento de Estudios Poblacion, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Tijuana, Mexico
Background: Mexican-origin breast cancer patients in the United States, particularly those residing in medically underserved areas, face health disparities associated with social, economic, and cultural barriers resulting in poorer health outcomes and lower quality of life. The rural Imperial County, in southern California, is located on the US-Mexico border directly across from the city of Mexicali, the capital of Baja California, Mexico. It has been estimated that up to half the residents on the Texas-Mexico border have crossed into Mexico to utilize some form of health care, yet little is known about this phenomenon for women with breast cancer in California.

Objectives: To examine access and barriers to health care and cross-border cancer care utilization among immigrant women with breast cancer on the US-Mexico border.

Methods: Mexican-origin breast cancer survivors rarely have an opportunity to view their quotidian lives through the lens of a camera. In this project, we apply a grounded theory approach by combining in-depth ethnographic interviews and Photovoice methodology to explore life after cancer by survivors and utilization of services on the US-Mexico border.

Results: Financial burden including lack of proper health insurance and inability to copay is the major reason to cross border for cancer diagnosis and care. Surprisingly, participants return to Mexico for cancer diagnosis but prefer to receive treatment in the United States. Cancer patients believe that quality of cancer treatment is superior in the U.S. health care but feel comfortable with a Mexican doctor due to the race and language concordance.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Provision of health care to the public
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify three issues that women with breast cancer living on the US-Mexico border deal with on a daily basis.

Keyword(s): Breast Cancer, Latinas

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the co-principal investigator of a bi-national grant focusing on the treatment of breast cancer on the US-Mexico border. Among my scientific interests has been immigration and health among the Mexican population.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.